When to dig up Jerusalem Artichokes?

frdnicholas(Albuquerque NM)October 6, 2012

My Jerusalem artichokes have been in the ground for 5 years or so. This year they are just starting to flower. The weather is turning colder and I am wondering if I have to let them finish flowering before digging them up, or if I can cut them back now and dig them up?

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jolj(7b/8a)

You can dig them anytime you want too.
But they are best after frost, when the stalks are dead.
Some say they cause gas, so you may want to pick up some bean-o. You can eat them raw like water chestnuts, WC are a pain to grow without a pond.
You can eat JA anyway you eat white potato.
Well maybe not as a "Leadbellie".
Leadbellie/ Leadbelly: A large bake potato cut in half long ways, but do not cut though the bottom skin, so it opens like a hotdog bun. Then full the potato with any & all the topping you love.
But every other way is fine for JA.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 6:31PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

The best time to harvest JA tubers is just before you intend to eat them. They keep well in the ground, but store poorly once dug up.

JA tubers store energy in the form of inulin, as opposed to starch. Since inulin is indigestible, it is a good low-cal food for diabetics; but as Jolj mentioned, it can cause digestive distress in some people.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 5:25PM
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steve333_gw(5a)

Cold storage of JA causes the inulin to convert to other digestible starches and sugars. Probably not good for diabetics but should help the digestion thing for others.

Native Americans tended to eat JA last. Never really heard whether that was because cold storage could work its stuff on them, or whether they just did not like them much...

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:27PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

As always I have learned something new from you zeedman.
I did know you should dig, wash & cook the tuber in the same hour or so.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 10:29PM
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catherine_nm

Hi, frdnicholas

In Albuquerque you should be able to dig JA all winter long with little trouble. I would say harvest what you need and leave the rest for now. They store very well in the ground.

I live on a mountain side, and except in the shadow of the house, I can dig in most of my yard most of the winter. The vegetable beds especially are in the sunny parts, so except after a storm or a really hard cold snap (let's see, was that February 2010?) the soil is less than solid.

Good luck!

Catherine

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:03PM
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frdnicholas(Albuquerque NM)

Mine are in full sun. How often should I be watering them now? Or should I stop and let the tops die back?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:15PM
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